Easy motion is a plugin for Sublime that allows for quick and simple keyboard navigation within a file 1. Just 3 key strokes can take you to any visible letter. No neeed for complex regexes or patterns, all you need to know is the letter that you want to navigate to.

A user alerted me to this sublime plugin a month or so ago and I immediately started using it. I absolutely loath touching the mouse or arrow keys during development because I feel it slows me down. Typically I use vim style editors to avoid the mouse. But the steep learning curve of vim shouldn’t be a prerequisite for efficient keyboard navigation. Easy motion represents a great middle ground here for developers who want to get more productivite with a minimal learning curve.

So a few weekends ago I sat down and coded up an Easy Motion clone for Visual Studio. Been toying with it for a few weeks now and it’s ready to be shared out more generally.

Here is a simple example of how to use EasyMotion to jump around within a file. Let’s start with a "Hello World" program that has the cursor positioned at the end of a using directive.

example 1

Now I want to move the caret to the start of Console.WriteLine. Instead of moving my hands to the arrow keys, or even worse grabbing the mouse, I initiate an easy motion search by pressing Shift+Control+;.

example 2

In response the editor added a status line asking me for the character I want to search for. I type C as it is the first letter in Console.WriteLine.

example 3

There are many occurences of C in the file and Easy Motion distinguishes between them by overlaying every occurence with a new letter (a-z). To jump to a specific instance of ‘C’ I simply type in the letter which overlays the ‘C’ I want to jump to. In this case it is ‘I’

example 4

Now the caret is positioned exactly where I wanted at the start of Console.WriteLine. No arrow keys, no mouse, just 3 quick keyboard touches and I’m there

  1. The Sublime plugin is itself a clone of a vim extension 

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